WICHITA, Kan. – Nathan Tyler birdied four out of his last five holes Friday to vault into the lead at the Web.com Tour’s Air Capital Classic after two rounds. The former Arizona Wildcat fired a 6-under 65 for a two-day total of 10-under 132, two better than first-round leader Alex Prugh (71) and Monday qualifier Jace Long (63).
Six players are tied for fourth place heading into the weekend at Crestview Country Club, including Kevin Tway, Danny Lee, Bhavik Patel and Steve Wheatcroft.
“It’s great,” Tyler said about leading through two rounds. “This is my first tournament out here this year. I’m happy to be here and hope to keep it going on the weekend.”
Tyler received a sponsor’s invite to play this week because of his performance on the All-American Gateway Tour the first half of this year. He has played 11 events on that tour this year, making every cut and winning three times. This is his first Web.com Tour event of the season as well as his first 36-hole lead on the tour.
Tyler is 9 under par on the back nine and only 1 under on the front through the first two rounds. The 30-year-old pro leads the field in putts per green in regulation and feels that he will be in good shape as long as he takes advantage of the second nine, which produces plenty of birdie opportunities.
“It’s just an easier nine for me, maybe the holes fit my eye better,” he said. “There are a lot of birdies on that side so I just need to survive the front nine and take care of the back nine.”
Prugh struggled on the greens in Round 2. The Washington native took seven more putts (32) on Friday, lipping them out on both sides of the hole.
“I kept giving myself good opportunities, but it felt like there was Saran Wrap over the cup,” he said. “I hit them on the lines I wanted to; they just didn’t go in. Sometimes they do that.”
Prugh had a share of the lead heading into the weekend at the Mexico Championship a few weeks back before finishing in a tie for second. The PGA Tour veteran is trying to build on that success and learn from the experience.
“I think Mexico was a great stepping stone because I never really felt like I played bad there,” he said. “The more times you put yourself in that situation, the more comfortable you get and the more you learn how to handle the nerves.”
Due to concerns with weather approaching the area, tee times will start at 6:57 a.m. CT with the last group teeing off at noon.
--A total of 65 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 1-under-par 141. This is the second straight year that 65 players will play the weekend here. This is the highest cut at this tournament since it has played this course as a par-71.
--Jace Long’s 63 is the lowest score recorded by a Monday qualifier this season on the Web.com Tour.
--Kevin Tway fired a 65 that included five birdies, an eagle on the par-4 11th, and a three-putt bogey on 18.
As the breeze picked up, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy seemed to really settle into his round and really get it going on the back nine.
“I’m pretty comfortable in the wind,” he said. “I just try to hit solid golf shots and give myself opportunities.”
Tway finds himself three off the lead. The 24-year-old feels that chasing the lead frees him up to really attack on the weekend.
“I like coming from behind,” he said. “There is a little less pressure which allows you to go get the golf course.”
--In making his 11th cut at this event, Paul Claxton become the all-time tournament leader in cuts made. Ben Bates previously held this honor. Claxton also set a new record with eight consecutive cuts made at this event.